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Holocaust and Halakhah (The Library of…
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Holocaust and Halakhah (The Library of Jewish law and ethics)

by Irving J. Rosenbaum

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The Holocaust and Halakhah is a study of the determined efforts of the Jews of Europe to conform to the patterns and norms of Halakhic Judaism during the Holocaust period. It is based in large part on rabbinic responsa written in Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Lithuania from the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933, until the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945. Included are rabbinic rulings from the ghettos, labor camps, and death camps of the Holocaust. These responsa treat such subjects as the justifiability of suicide, murder, and abortion under the conditions obtaining at the time. They also discuss the observance of Passover, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and even Purim in the ghetto of Kovno and the Auschwitz death camp. Indeed, the range of subjects covered is as broad as the spectrum of the Halakhah itself. Moreover, the factual circumstances out of which each question arose are cited, and a summary of the legal arguments leading to the decision in the responsa are included. Holocaust and Halakhah also incorporates eyewitness and documentary material concerning the obdurate and heroic Jewish adherence to the study of Torah and the practice of mitzvot during the Holocaust.… (more)

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